GOLDEN HORN RELEASES VERETSKI PASS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
5 MAY 2004
GOLDEN HORN RELEASES "VERETSKI PASS,"
EAST EUROPEAN JEWISH MUSIC
Golden Horn Records is proud to announce its release of Veretski Pass,
Traditional East European Jewish Music by the trio of the same name made
up of klezmer veterans Cookie Segelstein, Joshua Horowitz and Stuart Brotman.
Much of the music on this recording comes from and near the region of
the Veretski Pass (after which the group is named) in the Transcarpathian
region of what is now Ukraine, the main crossroads through which the Jews
traversed the Carpathian Bow. Some melodies were passed on to Cookie by
her father who was born in the town of Nizhni Veretski, at the base of
this pass. Others were collected by the members themselves in their travels
throughout Eastern Europe. Much of the music on this CD is recorded for
the first time. The instruments used on this recording are largely 19th
Century versions of the violin, viola, 3 stringed bass, basy (3 stringed
polish folk cello), bayan (early chromatic button accordion), tsimbl (Jewish
hammered dulcimer) and baraban (Jewish bass drum).
There is a stunning suite of Crimean Tatar music which is both haunting
and virtuosic. The Crimean Tatars are considered one of the three indigenous
peoples of the Crimean Peninsula. Hoping to strip the Crimean Tatars of
their ethnicity, Stalin eliminated close to half of their population and
decimated their cultural institutions. The Tatars therefore viewed the
German occupation of Crimea as their last hope of survival. The Nazis
in turn saw this as a unique opportunity to turn other Russian minorities
against Stalin, so they declared the Tatars a people and recorded their
folk music on 78 r.p.m discs. These recordings were made available to
Verestki Pass by Prof. Martin Schwartz (from the collection of Dr. Zev
Feldman) and reappear here for the first time in a new interpretation.
There is also a rare Karaite song, followed by improvisations and a pyrotechnic
fiddle song performed on a scordatura violin. The Karaite Jews accept
only the written word of the Old Testament and reject the rabbinical Oral
Commentaries. As a people, they have also been brutally subjugated by
their neighbors and spurned by the Jewish Community at large. Their music
has been kept close to their culture.
There are also original compositions, a suite with a bass and viola duet,
traditional Jewish and Ukrainian dance tunes all accompanied by booklet
with rich photographs and finely wrought essays by each of the members
of the trio, making this album a treasure trove of sound and word. This
is truly a creative and powerful use of a small group of players who make
music reminiscent of raucous and confident village musicians, nothing
short of a redefinition of the genre we now call klezmer.
Cookie Segelstein: Violin, scordatura violin, viola
Joshua Horowitz: Chromatic button accordion, tsimbl
Stuart Brotman: Bass, basy, baraban